Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Power of Positive Thinking

It seems to me that while I was growing up, we used to have a book of this title on the bookshelf in the living room. It was next to Psycho Cybernetics, which was a self-help book written in the sixties that my mother read so much, she wore out her first copy and had to buy a second.

Although they did not end up on the last bookshelf of Lynda's life, I recall that both books were her 'go to' manuals during what must have been some of the darker days of her life, when she was selling encyclopedias, brushes or insurance.

The Power of Positive Thinking is a famous book, actually, by an equally famous personality of my youth, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Today he may not be so well-known, but I recall his name because I can also remember bits and pieces of a radio program of his that my parents listened to regularly...was it on Sundays before the Opera at the Met? I never read the book, but as I contemplate writing about my own experiences with the subject, I can't help but feel that I was influenced by it, if only in dinner conversations with both Lynda and Bill.

The fact that both struggled so with depression an anxiety puts into context my own little Jacobean nightmares. I waver, as I reckon most people do, between thinking that this sort of struggle is purely my own and thinking that it is so universal as to be inescapable. So, at both ends of the spectrum, these two mindsets I know to be both unnecessarily painful and inherently false. I know, of course, that mine cannot be a unique situation, so I am comforted by the fact that I am not alone. I know, also, that not everyone is so afflicted all the time, giving rise to the hope that I will again be among them.

I believe it is an understatement when I say that now is the time when I must be resolute and strong for Valery and Maddie. We have a whirlwind couple of months, beginning with Maddie's birthday, then her Prom, Lynda's Memorial, Maddie's graduation and her move to Portland all by July 1. Whew!

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